If you want to maintain your authenticity, never follow these 9 societal norms

There’s a stark contrast between conforming to societal norms and maintaining your authenticity.

The difference lies in originality. Conforming means following the crowd, often suppressing what truly sets you apart.

Maintaining authenticity, on the other hand, is about embracing your individuality, even if it means swimming against the tide.

Authentic people know that there are certain societal norms best left unheeded. And if you want to remain true to yourself, it’s important to be aware of these.

Here are some societal norms that you might want to reconsider if authenticity is your goal.

1) The need to conform

Authenticity often finds itself at odds with societal pressure to conform.

This pressure is incredibly powerful and pervasive. It’s like a subtle undercurrent, nudging us towards the accepted norms and behaviors of the masses.

The need to conform is a societal norm rooted in our desire for acceptance. It’s the reason we often find ourselves suppressing our true selves to fit into certain molds.

But here’s the thing about authenticity – it despises molds. It thrives on individuality and uniqueness.

So, if you’re looking to maintain your authenticity, don’t be afraid to challenge this norm. Embrace your quirks and differences, even if they go against the grain.

Remember, it’s your individuality that makes you authentic, not how well you fit into society’s pre-defined boxes. And while going against the tide can be daunting, the reward of living authentically is worth it.

But bear in mind, it’s not about rebelling for the sake of rebelling, but about staying true to who you are. Because that’s what authenticity is all about.

2) Always aim for perfection

In our society, there’s an unspoken rule that we should always strive for perfection. And I must admit, I’ve fallen into this trap more times than I care to count.

I remember a time when I was working on a project. It was something I deeply cared about, and I wanted it to be perfect. But in my pursuit of perfection, I lost the joy of the project itself. The constant stress and self-criticism took a toll on my mental health.

That’s when I realized that this societal norm of aiming for perfection is not only unrealistic but also stifling. It can make you lose sight of your true self as you’re always trying to measure up to an impossible standard.

So, I decided to let go of the need for perfection. Instead, I embraced the beauty of imperfection and the lessons it brings. It was a liberating experience and helped me reconnect with my authenticity.

If you want to maintain your authenticity, it’s essential to understand that it’s okay not to be perfect. In fact, it’s our imperfections that make us human and unique. So, don’t be afraid to embrace your flaws and learn from your mistakes. That’s the real path to authenticity.

3) Pursuit of material wealth

Society often equates success with material wealth. The more you have, the more successful you are perceived to be. This societal norm is deeply ingrained in our culture, and it’s easy to get swept up in this pursuit.

However, there’s a study conducted by Princeton University that found that beyond a certain income level (about $75,000 per year), additional income doesn’t significantly improve happiness or well-being.

This indicates that the relentless chase for material wealth often leads us away from our authentic selves. We get so caught up in accumulating more that we lose sight of what truly matters – our values, our passions, and our relationships.

So, if you want to maintain your authenticity, don’t let societal pressure to amass wealth dictate your life. Instead, focus on finding joy and fulfillment in the things that truly matter to you. After all, life is more than just a race to the top; it’s about creating meaningful experiences and nurturing genuine connections.

4) Suppressing emotions

Society often promotes the idea that showing emotions is a sign of weakness, especially in certain professional or public situations. There’s this unspoken rule that we should always be in control, always put on a brave face, no matter how we’re really feeling inside.

But in reality, emotions are a fundamental part of our human experience. They give depth to our lives, enable us to connect with others on a deeper level, and provide valuable insights into our inner world.

Suppressing your emotions in the name of conforming to societal expectations can create a disconnect with your authentic self. It’s like wearing a mask; you might fit in better, but at what cost?

If you want to maintain your authenticity, it’s important to allow yourself the freedom to express your emotions. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or overwhelmed. It’s okay to show vulnerability. Your emotions are a reflection of your true self, and they deserve to be acknowledged and expressed.

5) Living for the future

It’s common in our society to always be thinking about the future – planning for it, worrying about it, constantly striving to build a better tomorrow. While it’s important to plan and prepare for the future, this societal norm can often make us lose sight of the present moment.

We’re so focused on the next step, the next goal, that we forget to appreciate where we are now. This constant forward-thinking can disconnect us from our authentic selves as we’re always chasing something that’s just out of reach.

If you want to maintain your authenticity, it’s crucial to find balance between planning for the future and living in the present. Appreciate today for what it is, relish in your current experiences and enjoy the journey. After all, the journey is often more important than the destination.

6) Ignoring your intuition

There’s a societal norm that often promotes logic and reason over intuition. We’re taught to analyze, think critically, and make decisions based on facts and evidence. While this is an essential part of decision-making, it can sometimes lead us to discount our own intuition.

Our intuition, that gut feeling, is a powerful tool that taps into our authentic selves. It’s a deep-seated guidance system that often knows what’s best for us, even when our minds are unsure.

Ignoring your intuition can lead to decisions that don’t align with your true self. You may find yourself in situations that don’t feel right or pursuing paths that aren’t truly yours.

If you want to maintain your authenticity, honor your intuition. Listen to that inner voice. It may not always be logical or rational, but it holds a deep wisdom that is inherently tied to your authenticity. Trusting in it can lead you to choices and experiences that resonate with your true self.

7) The fear of being different

Growing up, I always felt a little out of place. I had interests and hobbies that weren’t exactly mainstream. I found enjoyment in quiet solitude rather than large social gatherings. For a long time, I saw this as a flaw, something to be fixed.

This was largely due to the societal norm that encourages uniformity over uniqueness. We’re often pressured to fit into certain categories, to adhere to certain lifestyles and interests.

But the more I tried to fit in, the more I felt disconnected from myself. It was only when I started embracing my differences, instead of hiding them, that I felt truly authentic.

Being different isn’t something to be feared or shamed. It’s something to be celebrated. It’s what makes you unique, what sets you apart from the crowd.

So if you want to maintain your authenticity, don’t be afraid of being different. Embrace your uniqueness and let it shine. Remember, it’s your differences that make you who you are.

8) Avoiding failure

Our society often views failure as something negative, something to be avoided at all costs. We’re taught that success is the ultimate goal, and any deviation from this path is seen as a setback.

However, this societal norm can often lead us away from our authentic selves. It can make us avoid taking risks or stepping out of our comfort zones, for fear of failing.

The truth is, failure is an integral part of growth. It’s through our failures that we learn, evolve, and become better versions of ourselves. It’s where we gain invaluable insights about our strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities.

If you want to maintain your authenticity, don’t shy away from failure. Embrace it as a learning opportunity. It’s not a measure of your worth but a stepping stone on your journey to self-discovery and authenticity.

9) Seeking external validation

The desire for approval and acceptance is deeply ingrained in us. Society often reinforces this need, making us believe that our worth is determined by how others perceive us.

However, seeking external validation can lead you away from your authentic self. It can make you alter your actions, thoughts, and feelings based on what you think others would approve of.

If you want to maintain your authenticity, it’s crucial to understand that your worth does not depend on external validation. It’s determined by how you see yourself, by your own values and beliefs. Your authentic self is not defined by others’ opinions but by your own self-belief and self-acceptance.

Reflection: The journey to authenticity

The quest for authenticity is deeply personal and rooted in our individual experiences and perspectives. It’s not a one-size-fits-all, and that’s what makes it so beautiful.

Remember, authenticity isn’t about rebelling against societal norms just for the sake of it. It’s about understanding which norms align with your true self and which ones don’t. It’s about making conscious choices based on your own values and beliefs, rather than blindly following what society dictates.

The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once said, “Once you label me, you negate me.” This quote resonates deeply with the concept of authenticity. Labels, societal norms, expectations – they all tend to box us in, limiting our potential to truly be ourselves.

So as you navigate through life, remember that your journey to authenticity is unique to you. It’s a continuous process of self-discovery and growth. It might not always be easy, but it will always be worth it. Because at the end of the day, there’s nothing more rewarding than living a life that is genuinely yours.

Picture of Graeme


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